Knee pain can be brought on by a wide variety of factors, including sports injuries, repetitive motion, poor ergonomics, manual labor, and arthritis. Common symptoms of knee injuries and conditions include pain, stiffness, giving way, swelling, and strange noises like clicking or snapping.
One thing most people with knee issues have in common is pain that affects their life in a negative way. If you have knee pain, you may have trouble sleeping or difficulty performing work or leisure activities. This causes people to seek out treatments, whether at home or at the doctor’s office. Here are some typical ways to fix knee pain, and we’ve included one you may not even know about yet.
Rest and Elevation
Getting off your feet and putting your leg up works best for knee pain after a sudden injury or occasional flare-ups. It reduces swelling and gives the area time to heal, plus it lessens pain by eliminating pressure from standing weight on the joint.
Compression and Bracing
Wraps, braces, and other devices can also reduce swelling. They have the added benefit, when fitted properly, of helping the patella (kneecap) track in the proper pathway. These methods can also sometimes provide biofeedback to help improve positioning.
Ice or Heat
Like rest and elevation, these treatments are best applied either right after an injury (acute knee pain) or when an old wound is triggered. Ice reduces swelling, while heat speeds healing cells to the area. Heat is also great for treating stiffness and relieving muscle tension that can contribute to knee pain.
Working on your posture can help with knee pain, especially if you stand or walk all day. As well as making sure you’re standing up straight with your weight well balanced, you want to have the right footwear to support your lower leg. Get off those high heels and look for something with arch support and impact resistance. Orthotic inserts can be added for more support or to correct problems unique to your anatomy.
Weight Loss and Healthy Eating
If you are significantly overweight, you may feel it in your knees. Therefore, weight loss can help reduce chronic knee discomfort. Eating a healthy diet of fewer processed foods and “good” fats isn’t just great for weight loss; it can also reduce inflammation in your joints. Some folks like to augment their diets with supplements for joint health, like glucosamine or calcium.
When there is a lot of muscle stiffness or joint immobility associated with knee pain, massage can provide relief. It improves circulation, helps release endorphins and other of your body’s “feel-good” chemicals, like oxytocin, and relaxes muscles and soft tissue for better range of motion and less pain.
The ancient Chinese art of acupuncture can also reduce knee pain. Although this isn’t a permanent fix, people do get relief when they regularly go for treatment with tiny needles inserted in key points on the body.
Exercise and Physical Therapy
Some people find modifying their sports routines helps with knee pain, while others who have been fairly sedentary discover that regular exercise is beneficial. Activities like swimming (non-weight bearing), yoga, tai chi, gentle walking, and other low-impact sports keep the knee joint more stable and assist with weight loss.
If you head to the doctor’s office for knee pain, you may be sent to physical therapy. There, you’ll learn specific exercises to help with your individual knee problem for strength building, flexibility, and better balance.
When they can’t take the pain, many people resort to non-prescription medications they can get at the pharmacy. These non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) are relatively inexpensive and have few limitations on the label. However, these aren’t harmless substances. New research points to links between gastrointestinal problems and NSAIDs, as well as increased risk of high blood pressure and cardiovascular events, such as heart attack and stroke.
Even worse are prescription drugs, which are better reserved for short-term use, like after a bad knee injury. Prescription pain medications have many bad side effects, including constipation, nausea, and sedation. They can also become addictive, which is part of the reason the US is suffering an opioid epidemic right now.
Cortisone injections can provide relief, but they should be used sparingly, ideally only to help you get through a course of physical therapy or a rare instance of pain. They cannot be given every few months for years on end.
When all else fails, your doctor may suggest surgery, such as arthroscopy or even joint replacement. But any surgery carries with it serious downsides and risks, including:
- Long recovery time, including time off work
- Expenses not covered by insurance
- Blood clots and pulmonary embolisms
- Reactions to anesthesia
- Nerve damage
- Surgery not successful in reducing pain
- External scarring and internal scar tissue
A lot of the treatments mentioned above are either temporary, disruptive, or downright dangerous. There is another alternative, though, and one you likely haven’t heard about. In fact, your physician may not even know much about it: regenerative medicine.
This treatment is an innovative way to reduce knee pain – not by masking it but by getting to the root of what’s causing it and then using your body’s own healing process to actually change your body’s structures.
How does it work? Exosomes, which are similar to stem cells but more ethically derived, are injected into the knee area. They jump-start a cellular process whereby inflammation and pain are reduced or eliminated, and they can promote new tissue growth as well for better mobility and smoother motion within the joint.
At RegenerWave Clinic, we use regenerative medicine to treat a range of joint problems, and results can last for months to years. It’s part of our holistic functional medicine approach to health, which includes addressing gut and nutrition concerns, hormones, and more. Globally, this treatment method is being explored for everything from diabetes to cancer.
The use of exosomes to treat knee pain isn’t usually covered by most insurance plans. But it can end up costing about the same as many of the treatments listed previously once you account for out-of-pocket expenses, copayments, and deductibles.
It’s easy to find out if regenerative medicine is right for your knee pain. Schedule your first appointment, and we’ll go over your medical history, conduct a physical exam, and take care of any medical imaging we need for a precise diagnosis. If the use of exosomes is viable for you, we’ll put together a customized treatment plan going forward.
You don’t have to use risky treatments for knee pain or those that merely hide your pain. Call RegenerWave Clinic today at 954-510-3150 to schedule your initial consultation. Or reach out online anytime with your questions to start your journey to wellness.